Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I hate home owners associations

I'd never thought about home owners associations until we bought our first house in Austin. We'd gone through financing, inspection, resolution of inspection issues and were at closing when one of the documents we had to sign if we wanted our house was the document selling our soul to the local home owners association.

Now my guess is that when originally conceived, home owners associations were probably a fairly harmless little thing. But not today. Today, home owner associations are bureaucratic, red-tape manufacturers with the power to fine you and prevent you from selling your house if you don't conform to their rules. I can't believe anyone who believes in private property rights or individual freedoms actually thinks these things are a good idea.

The worst thing about home owners associations are the nattering ninnies who run them. These people have far too much time on their hands and appear to be, in my opinion, not the brightest bulb in the set of lights. Let me give you an example.

We just got our HOA Newsletter. It appears to have been mostly written by a man named Erik. One of the articles Erik wrote was about the horrible problem of people parking their cars on the street overnight. He wanted to remind people that the HOA Board is now enforcing a rule that says no cars may be left on the street overnight. He also detailed the reason for the rule.

"Parking on the streets is considered unsightly and hurts our property values."
"Cars parked on the street block the view of drivers, placing people at significant safety risk, especially children running or biking from the sidewalk."

So I'm now to believe that my property value is going down because there are potential buyers scouting my sleepy little neighborhood in my sleepy little suburb at 2:00 AM? That's silly. I'm sure that 100% of the people scouting my neighborhood for a house are doing so during daylight or evening hours when parking on the street is allowed!

And while I understand that cars parked on the street may block some views and be a hazard to children I'd argue that the bigger hazard to the kid walking or on a bike are the parents at home who are letting that kid walk and/or bike at 3:00 AM.

I would rather pay taxes to the federal government than pay my HOA dues.


  1. My sister's HOA sent a letter to all the owners of yellow labradors because ONE yellow lab was wandering around and pooping on lawns. Since they didn't know WHOSE lab, they sent letters to everyone who had a lab. Funny.

  2. Whew, glad we live in a HOA-Free zone. After living under HOA years ago, I will take the occasional non-HOA neighborhood problem any day.

  3. Pretty much every study of traffic that I've seen cited says that parked cars are very important in calming traffic. So they probably make it a good deal safer as people will drive slower and know they have to pay attention.

    Hey, Carter, Carl wants you guys to know that the Phillies may have lost the first game (I was there and I'm going to today also), but they'll be back with their big bats in Denver.

  4. Hate is such a harsh word. I happen to be one of those "ninnies" that left the volunteer board of directors, and started my own property management company. In Houston, we have no zoning. Thus, most "yuppies" live in the burbs in master-planned" communities where deeds are enforced. I enjoy your blog and your opinions....but I am not one of those ninnies....lets grab a beer sometime when you are in Houston.